By now, many Trump voters have regretted supporting the president. But it took a little time for one Latino to realize that affiliating to an anti-immigration organization was not a good look for him.
Joe Gomez was the only Latino employee at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) until recently when he resigned. Since he joined in 2017, he alleged he faced discrimination and witnessed the use of racial slurs. Now, the former NBC News Radio correspondent has filed a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of race, disability, and origin. “I played the role pretty well,” Gomez told The Daily Beast. “But I couldn’t lie to myself anymore.”
He served as FAIR’s press secretary for nine months and persuaded others — friends included — that the organization was “not really a hate group.” The group may describe itself in more positive terms, but the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified FAIR as a hate group since 2008 “because of its virulent and false attacks on non-white immigrants.”
But Gomez tried hard to convince himself otherwise. After an undercover trip to Mexico, he realized the importance of immigration in the United States. He then joined FAIR as a press secretary, telling close friends that the group’s reputation was groundless. The organization’s management made sure to constantly address his Latinidad, according to Gomez, and his direct supervisor routinely made fun of Gomez for not speaking Spanish. Still, that didn’t deter other gringo managers from reportedly addressing Gomez with a condescending, “Hola, hombre.”
But that wasn’t the worst of it. A web content creator once showed a chain migration video to Gomez and said, “Look, there’s a bunch of spics jumping all over each other.” Gomez said that managers often overheard these comments and didn’t reprimand co-workers.
Gomez finally had enough when he realized the job was giving him anxiety and constant panic attacks. Moreover, his gringo supervisors enjoyed watching him stress out, and often shared laughs with interns whenever they’d see Gomez tense up over a deadline.
Ultimately, the former journalist opted to leave FAIR because common sense and morality trumped his optimism. He’s now suing the anti-immigrant organization over damages, including retaliation and the withholding of a bonus. He promises to give the settlement with FAIR to a charity that advocates for immigrants.